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"The games taking place in Croke Park is not Dublin’s fault"

Darren Cleary
Darren Cleary

01:29 17 Jan 2019


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Dublin could be the only team to lose home advantage in the All Ireland quarter-final round robin series.

The All Ireland champions are aiming to win a record setting 5th title on the trot, they could be stripped of home advantage in the Super 8s next year if changes are made to the structures at Congress.

The Irish Independent reported on Wednesday that Donegal have tabled a motion for Congress next month, calling for no county to be allowed to designate Croke Park as a 'home' venue in the 'Super 8s'.

The Ulster side were beaten by Dublin in the opening round, and then went on to bemoan Croke Park being designated a neutral venue as well as being used as Dublin's home venue for the game against Roscommon.

Croke Park though was never designated as a neutral venue, the wording of the original motion put before delegates stated that each team will play one home match, one away match, and one match at Croke Park.

This was voted on and passed at congress in February 2017 by 76% to 24%.

Donegal chairman Michael McGrath said that the motion, designed to remove Dublin from Croke Park is not about Dublin: "We haven't mentioned Dublin in the motion.

"We're just calling for no county to be allowed to nominate Croke Park as a home venue. We think that's fair to everybody.

If Donegal are successful in the motion, Dublin would need to find a new venue for the home match should they make it as far as the round robin series of the All Ireland quarter-final.

The only venue at their disposal in the county is Parnell Park, which can hold 9,500 spectators.

Last year 53,501 watched Dublin face Donegal in the All Ireland quarter-final round robin, that formed part of a double header with Roscommon and Tyrone.

33,240 turned up to watch Dublin’s final game of the Super 8’s against Roscommon that was despite the Boys in Blue having already secured their spot in the semi-finals.

Speaking to Off The Ball last June, the GAA’s Head of Communications Alan Milton said that Parnell Park was not a suitable venue for Dublin to host a Championship game:

“This all went before congress where every county has representation and it was common knowledge from the get-go when the new quarter-final formats were discussed that this anomaly existed, it existed then, and it exists now.

“The fact is all of the games taking place in Croke Park in the first round is not Dublin’s fault, they’re taking place in Croke Park it just so happens that Dublin are in the capital, the Dublin GAA team is based here and there’s nothing that can be done about that.

“The third round game is the one obviously [people are talking about], Parnell Park will not facilitate all the season ticket holders for Dublin and whoever they’re going to playing against.

“I don’t see wiggle room as it exists so it’s probably a matter for congress next February if counties feel sufficiently strongly that they want to revisit it.”

Congress may move Dublin out of Croke Park for Super 8s game

Donegal have previously expressed concerns about Dublin playing two out of their three games in the Super 8s at Croke Park. GAA officials met with representatives from Donegal last July.

After that meeting the GAA said that Dublin were well within their rights to nominate Croke Park as their home venue:

“It was accepted as part of these discussions, that the rules in relation to the new All Ireland SFC Quarter Final Round Robin system had been democratically adopted at Congress 2017 and that these provided for all Round 1 games to be played at Croke Park and each county to subsequently have one home and one away game.

“While Donegal challenged how any team could nominate Croke Park as their home venue, it was acknowledged that there was nothing in Rule to prohibit this.

“Donegal also requested in light of the issues they highlighted, that a review of the first year of the new championship structures be held by Central Council later in the year and that all counties be invited to submit their observations in this context.

“It was agreed that the issues highlighted by Donegal would be considered as part of this process and that if Central Council collectively felt that non-structural changes to aspects of the Championship were required, that these could be put to Annual Congress in 2019 for consideration.”

 

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